Singaporean Daniel De Costa was selected by American grassroots to perform a Jewish ceremony and deliver a short message for the global Peaceful Warrior Day before inauguration.
Daniel was one of 24 diverse speakers in the 19 Jan 2021 online peace rally featuring workshops and presentations of music, movement, and education to combat fear and hate.
During the segment, Daniel began by sharing his current situation awaiting defamation trial for exposing corrupt practices in Singapore.
He then led the audience in a Jewish lighting of candles ceremony while singing a traditional Jewish song Oseh Shalom.
Following the ceremony, Daniel delivered a message about unity:
May there be peace not only in Israel but all around the world!
Good early Wednesday morning from tropical sunny island Singapore.
I’m honoured to be a part of today’s event with great people alongside me. We’re not called to be mediocre but great! And what makes us great this day, is our response to the call for peace & be united in diversity. Unity is a precious commodity in a nation, business, society & families. It’s only when we’re united can we defy all odds to achieve the impossible. This is what the United States has been all about!
But what’s even more amazing, for where there’s unity, there’s a commanded blessing! Tehillim or Psalms 133 tells us (Hine Ma Tov Uma Na’im, Shevet Achim Gam Yahad) how pleasant & good it is when G-d’s people live in unity, a power that flows in our lives, it goes down through us, to our families, workplaces, surroundings & everything we place our hands on. It’s very promising when we have unity in our lives that overcomes any difficult situations.
This has always been the emphasis of my guiding Rabbis at Nishmat Am and Adath Shalom when they enjoin other local religious leaders to better the lives of those they serve there: the homeless, destitute & needy.
Our ever present challenge however, is to remain in unity. In this present age where we feel anything but united, then we need to realise we can be in unity. Unity does not mean we always agree with 1 another 100%, seeing eye to eye with everyone in our life. We’re simply different people with different opinions but we must be willing to come to the table, hear the other party out, find common ground & have room to accommodate our differences, to begin celebrating our diversity.
Instead of fighting against each other, we really should be fighting for each other. All these, while not compromising our long cherished principles of liberty & freedom from oppressive regimes!
Why I’ve picked the Jewish ceremony of the lighting of Menorah, is not merely because it symbolises miracles but it also illustrates lighting up & dispelling darkness. But this cannot be achieved without each & everyone of us being that middle stick or “Shemash” to illuminate those around us.
When there’s talk of “insurrection”, we do a “resurrection”, by calling forth or resurrecting the dormant values of compassion, humility, servitude & understanding within us, which defines our humanity. We are after all, only of 1 race, “the human race”.
It is not us verses them but us verses ourselves, our pride, arrogance, indifference and selfishness. It is against this backdrop that the Islamic prophet extolled his followers to daily “jihad” (an often misused & misconstrued word) with themselves. To rid themselves of inner vices which separates from god.
Whatever that may come tomorrow, we will never know but we can gapse today to make ourselves better. If we’re not a much better human being today then we have no need for tomorrow! May all our tomorrows be better than our yesterdays.
Shalom & hold your peace!
Daniel hopes that through this he would not only be representing his faith but also do Singapore proud.
The free online event sponsored by People for Liberty was livestreamed on People for Liberty’s YouTube channel and Facebook.